Sweet Georgia Brown

This is an online lesson for the fiddle tune "Sweet Georgia Brown."
This lesson is by special request for my friend David.

BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!

Genre: Bluegrass, Old Time
Skill Level: Intermediate, Advanced
Keys of G and F

You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.

NOTE: If multiple fiddle lessons and MP3s are loading at once, this page will get slow! I recommend that you refresh the page each time you open a new video or MP3.

Video #1: Here is a video of me performing the fiddle tune "Sweet Georgia Brown."

Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle. Sweet Georgia Brown - Online Fiddle Lessons. Celtic, Bluegrass, Old-Time, Gospel, and Country Fiddle.

"Sweet Georgia Brown" is a jazz standard and pop tune written in 1925 by Ben Bernie and Maceo Pinkard (music) and Kenneth Casey (lyrics).

Reportedly Ben Bernie came up with the concept for the song's lyrics - although he is not the accredited lyricist - after meeting Dr. George Thaddeus Brown in New York City: Dr. Brown, a longtime member of the State House of Representatives for Georgia, told Bernie about Dr. Brown's daughter Georgia Brown and how subsequent to the baby girl's birth on August 11, 1911 the Georgia General Assembly had issued a declaration that she was to be named Georgia after the state, an anecdote which would be directly referenced by the song's lyric: "Georgia claimed her - Georgia named her."

The tune was first recorded on March 19, 1925 by bandleader Ben Bernie, resulting in a five-week No. 1 for Ben Bernie and his Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra.

 

Posted in Advanced, Bluegrass, Intermediate, OldTime Tagged with:

Best Online Fiddle Lessons Forums Sweet Georgia Brown

This topic contains 41 replies, has 12 voices, and was last updated by  John Cockman 7 months ago.

Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 42 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #11441

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    This lesson is by special request for my friend David.

    Sweet Georgia Brown

    #11444
    Great Scott
    Great Scott
    Moderator

    Ah, sweet Georgia Brown! How could I ever forget her!

    *** The crowd stands and a thunderous applause echoes through the concert hall*** BRAVO!!! BRAVO!!! FATASTICO! PIÙ!!! PIÙ!!! PIÙ!!!

    Luv, luv, LUV that 1920’s feel! I have been waiting all night for this!

    This was excellent, John! And the smile on your face and the sigh at the end makes me think you really enjoyed playing it and were so happy with your performance / recording of it. I liked your improvised version the best!

    Well done, buddy! Well done!! 🙂

    #11448
    Justine
    Justine
    Participant

    I love that song! Wonderful arrangement, John and your playing is superb!

    #11468

    Angela
    Participant

    AWESOME, John! That was outstanding playing! OK…this is next on my list!
    Thanks so much for all the great resources for the lesson. If I sleep on my laptop tonight, can I just absorb all this???!!

    I might add a basketball to my routine, too…

    Angela

    #11480

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    I though about playing this while spinning a basketball on my bow-tip, but then I decided that would just be too much showboating.

    #11487

    David B
    Participant

    Wow John, What a fantastic lesson. This exceeds anything I ever imagined. You are an amazing teacher and if possible an even better fiddle player. Thanks so much for everything you do. I am so glad to have found this site. I will always be awe of your ability, dedication and sincere appreciation of music and helping others. You are truly an inspiration to us all.
    THANK YOU!!!!

    #11495

    Goldberry
    Participant

    That was REALLY impressive! That performance video is just amazing. I’m definitely re-inspired!

    #11497

    Barbara
    Participant

    That was HOT!!!! Sweet, swingin’, fast and sassy! WOW! I love it, John! I can’t wait until I achieve intermediate level skill so I can give that a go.

    Thanks!!

    #11996
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Wow John ! That was awesome. Cant wait to get there, that one place where I can take the precious time for this one , love those octaves in unison and all the slides ooooo, so nice,thanks John, your amazing.Great lesson,incredibly smooth and flavorful playing !!!

    #12001
    fiddliferous1950
    fiddliferous1950
    Participant

    I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson, John. A lot of hard work on your part. My sincere “Thanks” for a job well done. I learned this tune in F Major some time ago, but playing it in G is exciting as it’s easier to get “bluesy” with it. Wonderful.

    #19907
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    OOOOOO Cant wait :O)
    Gu

    #19914

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Go for it, Gu!

    #27016

    jaltman0
    Participant

    I am working through your wonderful arrangement.

    Found the Christiaan Van Hemert Youtube video and I see why you credit him:

    Also stumbled upon this – an interesting historical aspect to the tune:

    http://historyharvest.unl.edu/items/show/183

    Question: You teach it in G. But also play it in F. Which key is more common or favored and by whom?

    Thanks for all you have done.

    Jeremy

    #27034
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Gypsy Jazz violin rules ?❤️?????, thanks for the video,
    Gu

    #27043

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Yes! A lot of my break is Christiaan Van Hemert, so I had to give him a shout out in the video. That dude is completely awesome.

    Most bluegrass guitar players like to pitch the song in ‘G’ so they can play all their favorite G-runs without putting the capo on the 10th fret. 🙂  Sometimes, as a fiddler, you are simply at the mercy of the guitar and banjo. They both hate the key of F.

    #28245
    fiddliferous1950
    fiddliferous1950
    Participant

    John, your playing of the advanced version brings tears to my eyes. Tears of joy for how well you’re interpreting this piece. Wonderful, wonderful playing.

    Thanks so much.

    Fred.

    #28248

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Wow Fred, thank you! That is a great compliment, especially coming from you. It is great to hear from you!

    #28254

    Angela
    Participant

    Fred!  You put this back on my radar screen.

    So, tonight, I’ve learned the run-down intro, and boy was that fun and cool!!!  So, this is the next one I’m learning for sure.  Stop the presses.

    John, thanks for this great lesson.  For the advanced call and repeat, I’m only getting audio.  Is it just me?  The other videos are fine.

    Look out, globetrotters, you’ll have a new band member soon.  :^D

    Angela

    #28459

    Angela
    Participant

    I just took a quick visit to NOLA…first time there.  I’m inspired!!  Learned a lot musically.  Came back and continued working on this one.  I have a basic beginning version down.  Now I’m working on the intermediate you have here.

    John, another improv question we’ve sort of already covered….but, when you do the last improv break on your video here (which is awesome) are you thinking chords at all….or are you just totally letting your ear lead you?

    And, if you’re thinking chords….what are you thinking?  and if you’re just letting your ear lead you, what is your inspiration?  Does that make sense?

    ah….what the heck….I’m attaching what I have so far…..I have a long way to go.  But a journey of a 1000 miles starts with 1 step, right????

    Angela

    • This reply was modified 47 years ago by .
    #28464
    nagumaq
    nagumaq
    Participant

    Lovely Angela, my goodness that sounded fine alright, you got it back on my radar now! Yeeeehaw, is it the fiddle , the strings, the bridge , the love you put into it, You, what a great sound your making all together, nice violin ! Is it the diy one? ?

    Have a great day!

    Gu

    #28483

    Angela
    Participant

    Thanks, Gu.  The room has pretty good reverb in it…that helps!!  haha

    It is the DIY!!

    Work on this one, Gu.  It will stretch you!  :^D

    Angela

    #28490

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Angela, you sounded great on the short break! Very jazzy and natural!

    Is the video working for you? I didn’t have any trouble seeing it.

    Short answer, but more later: When I improvise, I play a lot of scales within the chord structure. I’m not really thinking chords though. Often I have no idea what chord is being played. I am mostly filling in the notes around a basic melody.

    #28491

    David B
    Participant

    Angela – Very Sweet!!

    #43363
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    oh pooh…Guitar player here just said he wants me to learn this in F. Got some transposing to do it looks like.

    Great versions though John. Wish me luck..haha

    #43442
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Things are coming along on learning this tune… but I have a “theory” question John.

    https://youtu.be/gT8bXYu132M

    #43452

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Hi Dave! Unfortunately, that’s not going to work well. Here are the seven chords that my fiddle is actually noting during that run (If I were playing in the key of F, four notes per chord):

    F6, E6, Eb6, D6, Db6, C6, F

    The Sweet Georgia Brown chords that my band plays for those same notes are:

    F7, E7, Eb7, D7, G7, C7, F

    Even though the notes I play don’t exactly match the band’s Sweet Georgia Brown chords, they still sound OK.

    The seven chords you are playing during that run are as follows:

    CMaj7, CMaj7, BbMaj7, BbMaj7, Bbm7, C6, F.

    These, particularly the first four chords, do not fit very well and won’t sound great with the jam track. However, your band may play different chords than my band, in which case it may sound fabulous.

    Any chance you can get your guitar player to put his capo on the second fret and play the song in G? That would save you from having to transpose! 🙂

    #43454
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Thanks John.

    The question was more just for me than about transposing. What I was doing had a similar sound to me but didn’t seem like it matched up with what I was looking for. I don’t have a problem moving the lick you used around, I was just tying to figure out a different position to play it out of while experimenting around. I was guessing I was incorrect but couldn’t figure out why. When I read the CMAJ7 I knew right away why starting on the B didn’t work. Thanks for the quick and informative response.

    Robbie (guitar) is a texas swing guy. He was fairly adamant he preferred F for a key if possible. I’m thinking I’ll have him cut a rhythm track and provide a chart for chords. Then I can play to it and put it up here and go from there.

    I will probably write a second version from ear (how i’m quickest) and then tackle transposing things from here for a third break if it works with robbies chords.

    I’ve actually found several good versions in F I can appropriate things from. Pretty much have the basic melody learned and am familiar with the song enough to improvise over much of it with licks I already know. Now just working on coming up with a couple alternate versions that are more in tune with what I hear as a western swing type sound than just my jumble of improv licks.

    I am absolutely having a ball working on this tune! Thanks again for the help.

    • This reply was modified 47 years ago by .
    #43525

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Glad to help! My suggested run doesn’t completely gel with the chords either, but it such a cool run I don’t mind “shoehornign” it into the song there. In the end, you just have to let your ear decide!

    When you are playing with horns, you usually have to play in Ab. Check out Mark O’Conner shredding in Ab here. This man is a fiddle god.

    Most gypsy jazz bands tend to play it in G. Here is Django/Grappelli.

    Bluegrass pickers tend to play it in F. Here is a great version of Tim Crouch playing an awesome break in F.

    Just to give you something to work on, I’ve transposed the intermediate version to F, and added a few more breaks in F. The new links are available on the lesson page an also on the sheet music page.

    #43529
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Thanks John!

    I already have O’Connor’s vid bookmarked. Been listening to everything I can by Mark since he put out his first album.

    Wow, listening to Grappelli I was struck how much his melody choices sound like Benny Goodman’s stuff. (or the other way around maybe?)

    I’ve run across Tim crouch before on other stuff..awesome player! I’ll be hitting that vid hard in the near future for sure.

    Been listening to Jason Anick and Jeremy Cohen also.

    Please know that I really appreciate the extra time you are spending helping out with this.

    It’s a job finding things I can understand enough to figure out, and have the dexterity to pull off, but i’m loving it.

    • This reply was modified 47 years ago by .
    #43533

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Benny Goodman definitely borrowed from Grapelli. He also has a pretty mean version of this tune in Ab somewhere on the internet.

    You are doing great. It’s exciting to watch!

    #43535
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Mr. Goodman was always one of my favorite melody builders.

    #43543
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Oh goodness…I’ve just discovered Alex DePue…

    #43569

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Sweet Georgia Brown! (I’m starting a new saying.) After hearing that, now I want to hear the person who is wearing the blue ribbon!

    Alex DePue is amazing! Loved the “Jingle Bells” shout-out. And what about that index finger? I haven’t seen that style before.

    #43573
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    yes the finger. I liked the whole DS section.

    Great new saying!

    More listening than playing today…More Depue (Grand Masters), Benny T,
    Chubby, Texas Shorty, and another new find: Dick Barrett.

    I’m about “noted up” enough to go play for a while again…haha

    #43614
    rodger
    rodger
    Participant

    Have to put this one in…nice mix with two fiddles…can’t figure out how they keep from getting lost…

    Solo fiddling is great, but look what happens when it’s a relational experience, how much fun these two sisters have…

    #43615
    fiddlewood
    fiddlewood
    Participant

    Like anything Roger, if you play it enough times the next part/note comes naturally. After awhile a wonderful thing happens: the fingers “remember” individual notes/patterns for you (muscle memory) and the mind can take care of the big picture, how to group licks or plan how to start the next lead.

    Even most improvising is simply using new combinations of memorised/rehearsed passages against a chord progression.

    I’ve gotten lost several hundred times just trying to figure out one little lick before, but it comes along eventually if I keep at it.

    If you listened to this paying close attention (like you are on a mission) 1000 times, I bet you can predict what lick they will play next.

    #44873

    Angela
    Participant

    John when you play the last verse are you thinking chords or scales or just totally going by ear and feel?

    #44908

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    Kind of a combination of scales and feel. The first verses were rehearsed. However, I mostly improvsed on the last verse then transcribed it after-the-fact.

    #44920

    Angela
    Participant

    OK…I scrolled through this conversation and saw where I asked this same question a year ago.  haha.

    I’ve tried slowing it way down and trying to improvise over this…still can’t do it.  Now that you mention it, I can just barely play any of it.  LOL

    Thanks for the response (again), John.

    Angela

    #44921

    John Cockman
    Keymaster

    This is a pretty advanced song to practice improv on! Since the chords are given in the tablature, I suggest you approach it from a “scales” angle. Every time the chord changes, begin scaling around in the new chord.

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